ENHANCEMENT: book indexing (not too difficult to implement?)

With Project Keywords, Scrivener is not very far away from being able to compile indexes. Each keyword is associated with one or more documents. Currently I am writing a non-fiction book about learning to ride bicycles. The chapters are divided into sections and subsections, each devoted to a single topic and no more than half to one-and-a-half pages.


It would be nice if keywords pointed to a paragraph, but pointing to a topic is close enough.

As a first rough cut, it would be great if you could at any time:
(a) print out an alphabetically ordered list of all keywords,
(b) generate a hyperlinked list (HTML?) of keywords to jump to a particular topic in the binder.

It would help a lot if you could enter entries as main- and sub-entries like this:


and print them out as


If you had an extensive list of keywords, instead of scrolling the window to find the one you want to associate with another document, a search box could be included as part of the keyword window. Then, if the keyword could not be found, you could click a [+] button next to the search box to add the new word or phrase to the list and associate it with the current document. A checkbox [√] would toggle instant association.


An improvement would be to associate keywords with words or paragraphs for more accurate targeting. When saving/exporting to RTF, the index entries could be embedded as RTF statements. Then the document could be opened in Word or LibreOffice and the index could be compiled with page numbers.


If you are revising a book, or reusing parts of it in a new book, it would save a lot of work if the keywords were embedded as index entries in the text. It seems to me to be odd to export a book to RTF where all the formatting, layout, and list compilation takes place and then – because you have expended so much effort on finalising the book in Word – to have to continue to use Word for the revision. The idea of restructuring a new version in Word, cutting and pasting from one chapter to another, moving stuff around in a chapter for better sequencing, etc. gives me a very bad headache.

Much better to do that in Scrivener, to take advantage of all its nifty aids.

WHY BOTHER? (more)

When writing non-fiction books, especially instructional or how-to manuals, it is useful to have a thesaurus of preferred terms. Consistent terms ensure that the same thing or idea always has the same name. In a book about indexing you might have these terms:

keywords. See entries
terms. See also entries

Thus, ‘entries’ is the preferred name for index entries. ‘Keywords’ is a non-preferred term, so ‘See’ points the reader to the preferred term. ‘Terms’ is also preferred, but the ‘See also’ points you to a similar preferred term, ‘entries’.

Especially in a team environment working on a large publication, a taxonomy or thesaurus helps to maintain consistency between writers. When a writer is unsure of what term to use, he or she can check with the team leader to have a new term added to the shared thesaurus. A printout of such a thesaurus is a very valuable thing to have at your elbow, along with a dictionary and a Roget’s thesaurus.

An index can also be the starting point for a glossary, where the writer chooses what terms should be defined and explained.